Week 1 Starts/Sits
We made it! After all the rookie drafts, startups, holdouts, injury scares and surprise retirements we have finally made it to week one of the 2019 season. Dynasty leagues tend to reward those who see things from the 30,000 ft view of the forest that is the NFL so the off-seasons are always the most fun time for us. Weʼre good at finding breakouts and busts and those late round flyers who just need the opportunity. We know the young unknown player well and we like deep benches to stash them with. A lot of times our edge comes in locating talented young/relatively unknown players before the rest of our league mates and being able to cash in when they get their chance.
But week one represents a much different challenge for us. We have to take everything we know about that forest and try to relate it to one single tree. And in this case it just happens to be the toughest tree to figure out. Training camps and the preseason continue to give us less and less information about what teams plan to do on a week to week basis. The difficulty of week one is that the information we have is either foggy, incomplete, out dated, or even purposely deceptive. However, the good news is that teams will be forced to show us at least something about their plan that will help us going forward. Weʼll start to have an idea of which defenses are improved and which ones have taken a step back. Which new OCʼs are going to work out and which ones will be on the hot seat. We rally donʼt know any of these things today, but weʼll start to get a better idea over the next few weeks. Week one will turn a lot of things upside down, but donʼt forget how important matchups are. If Joe Mixon has a tough game, that may tell us more about Seattle than him or the Cincy offense for that matter. It can be tough to decipher, but the dynasty viper team will be right here to help you on this journey. Weʼll dig in and figure this out together. A few points before we get into some starts/sits for week 1:
For most teams, I typically think week one is a time to start your best players and not try to get cute. I donʼt love Aaron Jones matchup this week on the road in Chicago, but I wouldnʼt be sitting him in most cases. We donʼt really know a ton yet, so for now I would advise everyone to start your studs and trust your most talented players If I can help it I donʼt want to start players who missed most of camp with injuries right off the bat. All things being equal, Iʼd prefer to break the tie with players who have consistently been at practice. Iʼm not going to include the most obvious starts. You donʼt need me or anyone else to tell you to start Pat Mahomes or Alvin Kamara, but I will include some higher owned players just in case you have built a very stacked team and there are studs you will have to sit every week. We have all either had this team or played against it in the past. I also know that some of us took over some really bad orphan teams this offseason, so Iʼll include some deeper sleepers as well since we may be forced to play some crazy speculative players. Iʼm using ESPNʼs start % as of 9/3/19. Keeping all of that in mind, here we go!
Letʼs get weird right off the bat, shall we? I know Nick Foles isnʼt the guy you hoped to be in your lineup in week one, but in super flex leagues or as a QB2 I just might roll the dice with him in week 1. Kansas City was not great against the pass last year and a lot of that had to do with being so far ahead of teams that their opponents had no choice but to rack up high pass attempt totals against them. Iʼm expecting more of the same in this matchup. Vegas expects this to be a high scoring game with the second highest point total of the week. Jax is only a 4 point underdog giving them an implied total in the top half of the league. Foles is only owned in less than 10% of leagues and started in less than 1%. If youʼre digging deep, slot Foles in as your QB2 this week.
How about Jimmy Garoppolo? I know he threw a bunch of interceptions in camp. Sure, preseason was rough. But guess what? Iʼm rolling with Jimmy G in week one against the awful TB defense. Some of my faith is built on Kyle Shannahan, and some of it is based on the weapons he has around him, but mostly its the matchup. With the 5th highest over under from Vegas I expect a shootout in Tampa this week.
Tom Brady and Drew Brees are on the wrong side of 40, but they also happen to be the QBʼs on the teams with the most implied point totals this week and face a matchup they should be able to exploit.
Cam Newton is banged up, but early reports indicate heʼs good to go for Carolina and thatʼs good enough for my team too. Heʼs at home and should have to sling the ball to keep up with the Rams.
Atlanta could be better against the pass this year, but Iʼll wait to react until I see it in real games. Iʼm starting Cousins at home this week and expecting him to come through for me. Same goes for Jamies Winston at home against San Fran. Iʼm lower than most on this offense over the course of the season, but week one should be big for Tampaʼs passing game.
Josh Allen is tough this week, but I lean towards starting him. Vegas doesnʼt expect a lot of points, but the matchup against the NYJ should be a good one for him if last year is any indication.
Lastly, start Kyler Murray. Maybe the season is up and down, but this is a good matchup at home for the rookie with a strong implied total from the odds makers.
There are going to be a lot of people telling you to start Lamar Jackson this week, but I will not be one of them. Itʼs not that I donʼt love LJax. I do. Itʼs just that Miami could be historically bad this season and there may not be much need to throw the ball more than 20 times in this one or to risk running many QB options/draws. Vegas seems to agree since they put the lowest over/ under of the week on this game. Baltimore could run the ball 40+ times in this one.
My expectations for Matt Ryan are lowered this week even though I like him for the season. On the road in Minny will be a tough task and while I still think he could put up startle numbers, I also think the floor could be pretty low. If I have a similar option with a better matchup, Ryan will be headed to the bench anywhere I own him.
Sam Darnold faces a very stingy Buffalo defense this week. The future is bright, but expect the Jets to lean on their brand new running back in this one. Andy Dalton and Derek Carr also face difficult matchups and low implied scores so look elsewhere in those super flex/2QB leagues.
If youʼve followed me on twitter you know Iʼm not big on this rookie class of running backs, but Iʼm all in for starting three of them in week one. David Montgomery is set up for success in his first outing with a solid matchup at home and a positive game script. At least if you believe the odds makers. A solid implied total and an above average over under could mean a lot of Montgomery to close out the game.
A lot of that can be said for Josh Jacobs as well. Donʼt be shocked if heʼs icing the game on Monday night to close out the week.
The other rookie RB I like this week is Tony Pollard. I know Zeke could play, but how much and far how long? Pollard has been in camp and throughout the preseason and when Dallas is running out the clock in the fourth quarter I expect them to lean on Pollard, not Elliot, for the first week of the season.
Kerryon Johnson is my favorite RB to start this week based on the matchups, but Mark Ingram is close. The Ravens are going to run the ball a ton this weekend and Ingram should carry the load. Miami was bad against the run last year and could be even worse this year.
The biggest bomb of cut down weekend came when Shady McCoy was released from the Bills and signed in KC hours later. Even with Shady in the backfield, Iʼm still rolling with Damien Williams this weekend. Heʼs been the RB1 all offseason and I donʼt expect that to change in less than a week. Maybe McCoy takes over later in the season, but for this week Iʼm starting Williams.
Looking at the numbers from Vegas there are a number of guys I like better in PPR leagues than in Standard. Tevin Coleman, James White and Duke Johnson are definite starters for you but I expect them to perform really well. For deeper leagues Iʼd strongly consider Chris Thompson, Nyheim Hines and Austin Eckler as well.
Lastly, I think this could be a good week for Jordan Howard. With the highest spread of the week, Howard could get lots of work in the second half and could easily find the end zone.
You probably have to start Aaron Jones this week, but I wouldnʼt want to. Chicago was the stingiest defense against the run last year and I wouldnʼt expect that to change much this year. Certainly not at home. Time will tell how much the new regime plans to use Aaron Jones in the passing game, and that represents your best hope if youʼre going to roll with him in your lineup. I love Jones this year, but Iʼd start Ingram and consider any of the rookies mentioned above over him for this week.
Devanta Freeman faces similar odds on the road against another stingy NFC North opponent. Similar to Jones, you have to hope for short yardage TDʼs or a lot of targets late.
Three guys that havenʼt spent much time if any with their teams that I canʼt start this week are Lesean McCoy, Carlos Hyde, and Ezekiel Elliott. Give McCoy and Hyde some time before trusting them. Zeke will be tempting if he plays this week, but I donʼt think the Cowboys need him to beat the Giants. Remember what Jerry Jones said - They want Zeke ready or later in the season. You donʼt put the highest paid RB in the league out there with less than a week of practice under his belt.
Iʼm also waiting on Devin Singletary as well. Heʼll have a chance later this year, but donʼt rush him into your lineup this week.
Some guys with tough matchups or possible tough game scripts this week that Iʼm fading if I can are Guice, Peterson, Drake, Latavius Murray, and Marlon Mack. The Chargers are tough against the run and should play with the lead at home which doesnʼt work out too well for Mack when he faces those situations. The Texans are stingy against the run too which is why I expect the Saints to attack the Texans through the air and that wonʼt leave a ton of opportunities for Murray. Miami and Washington are just backfields Iʼm avoiding against tough matchups all together and this week fits that description.
Letʼs start with a couple of higher profile names that I expect big things from in the same game - Chris Godwin and Dante Pettis. Vegas expects a lot of scoring and both of these teams gave up a lot of points to WRʼs last season. In deeper leagues I even like Marquis Goodwin and Breshad Perriman as well. This could be a fun game to watch.
Another game with a high point total Iʼll be paying attention to is in Arizona where Iʼll be watching to see if the Arizona offense can live up to the offseason hype. Detroit was generous to opposing WRʼs let season so Iʼm going to trust Christian Kirk in my lineup this week. Larry Fitzgerald is a good deep league start and Iʼll also be paying attention to pregame reports on Keesean Johnson. Iʼf heʼs announced as a starter, he could break out big in his first game.
Iʼll also be considering a few mid tier guys that you may have drafted for a bench spot in most leagues. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, John Brown, Dede Westbrook, Adam Humphries, Curtis Samuel, Will Fuller, and Emmanuel Sanders. All of them are projected to lose this weekend according to Vegas so they could have game scripts go their way and the team could throw the ball a lot. Digging even deeper, I could see myself rolling the dice on Cole Beasley, Trey Quinn, Taylor Gabriel, and DaeSean Hamilton.
Alshon Jeffrey is a guy Iʼm looking to move to a bench spot where I can. I love Carson Wentz this week, but there are just so many weapons for him to throw to. Donʼt be surprised to see multiple guys targeted 4-6 times with no one separating themselves from the pack. That goes for JJAW as well. I just donʼt trust any of the individual weapons in this offense and the game could be over by the fourth quarter, as Vegas has Philly with the highest spread of the week.
This goes hand in hand with my note on Lamar Jackson above, but Iʼm sitting all of the Baltimore receivers this week. I like the rookies and expect them to do well later in the year, just could be a tough week one. Same goes for a few young receivers with tough matchups in Trequan Smith, James Washington, Mike Williams and Andy Isabella.
I wonʼt be starting Kenny Stills in his first week back in Houston, even if it is a revenge game for him against his original team.
Sterling Shephard, Devin Funchess and Robby Anderson will all have good weeks this year, but Iʼll be looking to avoid them this week.
Same goes for Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley. I know itʼs cliché for a Saints fan to want to avoid starting Falcons players, but trust me - I like this offense, just really hate the matchup in week one.
Hereʼs a Falcon Iʼm starting this week - Austin Hooper. This is a bit of a gut call, but with Minny being so good against WRʼs, I think the Falcons may lean on their young TE.
Letʼs give some love to Three oldie but goodies. First, Delanie Walker faces a
Browns defense that struggled against the TE last season. I like for him to find the end zone in this one.
Greg Olsen has been left for dead, but Cam likes his old reliable target and the Rams can be exposed on that side of the ball by TEʼs.
And What about Jason Witten? The Giants seemed to be incapable of stopping TEʼs from finding the endzone last season and it would be a great welcome back moment for Witten to find pay dirt this weekend.
Digging deeper I actually like Tyler Eifert this week. Cincy will be trailing late and looking to throw and Effect could rack up some garbage time points. In that same game I like Will Dissly as Cincinnati was the worst team in the league last year at defending the TE. Denver wasnʼt much better which could mean opportunities for Darren Waller.
San Francisco was very good against the TE last year. If that holds, the OJ Howard train could stall a bit in week one. I expect Tampa to use their WRʼs a lot in this game and that could mean a tough game for OJ. If you drafted him, you probably have to start him, but Iʼd lower expectations and hope that he operates out of the slot as a WR most of the game.
Iʼm also not ready to trust TJ Hockenson just yet. As bad as Arizona was last year, they were second best in the league against the TE. This game will be fun, just donʼt expect the rookie to be a big part of the festivities.
David Njoku has had a tough off season and his first matchup against Tennessee is tough. Keep him out of